A bite refers to the way in which a patient’s upper and lower sets of teeth align. The technical term for this concept is the word “occlusion”. Misalignments of a patient’s bite occur in varying forms and are caused by a variety of factors. One common malocclusion, that sometimes requires jaw surgery, is an open bite, a condition where the top and bottom sets of anterior teeth do not touch when the mouth is closed or at rest. In a healthy bite, the upper anterior teeth should slightly overlap the bottom set of teeth.
Health Issues Resulting From an Open Bite
The severity of an open bite varies and treatment largely depends on the needs of the patient. In many cases, orthodontists and oral surgeons work together to restore a patient’s occlusion to a healthy alignment. An open bite can lead to a number of oral health conditions including tooth wear, tooth decay and breakage, and TMJ disorder. Additionally, those who suffer from an open bite struggle with facial discomfort and incomplete nutrition. In many cases, orthodontists and oral surgeons work together to restore a patient’s occlusion to a healthy alignment.
Patients with open bites typically place an unnatural amount of pressure on their molars, even when the mouth is closed. Over time, this force and pressure will wear tiny cracks in tooth enamel and eventually lead to worn down, broken, or decayed teeth. Furthermore, open bites contribute to a painful and debilitating condition, TMJ disorder, where the joint connecting the jawbone to the skull and the surrounding muscles and tissues are strained by the malocclusion. Some contributing factors to this type of misaligned bite include developmental and congenital abnormalities, lifestyle/behavioral patterns, and facial traumas.
Open Bite Treatment
Because orthodontic treatment can only move the position of teeth and slightly expand the palate, jaw surgery is necessary to correct a more severe malocclusion. If you are undergoing orthodontic treatment and need to have a malocclusion resolved as well, your orthodontist may refer you to an oral surgeon for jaw surgery. After an examination, your oral surgeon will determine how to correct the shape and size of your jawbones so that they align properly.
To learn more about jaw surgery or to reserve a consultation with our skilled oral surgeon, contact any of our Oral Surgery Associates of North Texas offices. We strive to promote a pleasant and relaxing atmosphere in addition to providing excellent oral healthcare services.